The veteran knuckleballer, fresh off an injury-riddled 2009 season, expects to be one of the five Red Sox starters this season despite battling for the spot against younger arms Daisuke Matsuzaka and Clay Buchholz.
"I plan on being one of the five starters," Wakefield told the media after Day 1 of pitchers and catchers in Fort Myers. "As long as I'm healthy during spring training, no setbacks, when we start the season, I'll think I'll be one of the five.
"I think Theo (Epstein),Tito (Terry Francona) and John (Farrell) all feel we're a better team with me in the rotation," he added.
The 43-year-old righty signed a two-year, $5 million contract over the offseason, which he spent rehabbing from a back injury that sidelined him for the majority of the second half of 2009.
"It was a hard winter for me, going to rehab five days a week, but my therapist in Florida did a great job getting me back to normalcy, and being on the field today for the first time, everything feels good," he said. "Everything feels great, I'm not having any hiccups."